This Olive Garden salad dressing recipe is an Italian American favorite! Get all the delicious bold and tangy flavors you know and love in this simple dressing that you can make in your own kitchen.
If you're craving more restaurant-quality favorites at home, try this Easy Chicken Gnocchi Soup, my Minestrone Soup Recipe, or Zuppa Toscana.
Why you'll love it
I don't know about you, but the house salad is actually one of the things I look forward to most at Olive Garden. That dressing is just so addictive with its zesty taste and a hint of sweetness, and we've tried our best to recreate it here (but we kinda like our version even better if we're being honest).
It's just a really good homemade Italian vinaigrette that will satisfy everyone, even those who don't normally go crazy over salad, and it's so easy to make at home. You can feel good knowing exactly what goes into it, essentially just a handful of pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Ingredients you'll need
- Olive oil and mayonnaise - for the rich base
- White vinegar - gives a tangy touch
- Sugar - it adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance the acidity
- Italian seasoning - grab a jar of this convenient dried herb mix from any grocery store
- Onion powder and garlic powder - this duo enhances the savory flavor
- Parmesan - adding parmesan to Italian dressing is a game changer. Always grate your own for freshness and texture! We like using this Microplane zester.
Veggies for Olive Garden salad
- For a true copycat Olive Garden salad, the one you're familiar with has lettuce (iceberg or Romaine), black olives, pepperoncini peppers, sliced red onions, Roma tomatoes slices, and garlic croutons. Toss with this dressing, add more grated parmesan if desired, and enjoy!
- But you can totally use any vegetables you like with this vinaigrette. It's great over mixed greens and even shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix. Add any of your favorite fresh toppings.
How to make Olive Garden salad dressing
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Simply add all the dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk vigorously. I like using a metal whisk. You could also add everything to a mason jar with a lid and shake it up. Taste and adjust as need, e.g. more salt & pepper or more sugar/vinegar. That's it!
Substitutions and variations
- Use a packet of Italian dressing mix instead of the individual herbs and garlic powder and onion powder if you prefer. However, those often contain sugar, so you might not want to add extra if you go that route.
- Try using fresh herbs or changing up the herb blend. Keep in mind that the more you tweak it, the less it'll taste like the Olive Garden version. That's ok too!
- I recommend using the mayo as suggested for the best texture and flavor. I've seen others use yogurt or sour cream in its place, but it'll taste different than intended.
What to serve with this dressing
- Serve it in a salad along with comfort food favorites like Baked Ziti, Spaghetti and Meatballs, or these Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells to make it a hearty meal.
- It's great for a light lunch, so dress up a salad, add some grilled chicken, and eat it with a slice of crusty bread, Olive Garden breadsticks, or garlic bread.
- You can even use it as a dip for vegetables for a quick snack.
Leftovers and storage
- Keep this dressing in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for 5-7 days.
- I wouldn't recommend storing an assembled salad for any period of time. Instead, just keep the individual elements separate in the fridge, and make a new salad with leftover dressing when you feel like it.
Are you a fan of this dressing? Did you make it? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!
Olive Garden Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a prep bowl and whisk together, or add them to a jar and shake vigorously until combined. Taste and adjust if needed (e.g. add more vinegar or sugar).
- Keep dressing in a sealed container in the fridge for 5-7 days. Shake well before using as some separation will occur.
- Makes about 3/4 cup dressing - this should be good for 1-2 large salads or more smaller ones.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. Serving size is approx. 1 tablespoon.
Judith Maness says
Thank you, Judith!! 🙂
Suggestion: mix the sugar & vinegar first (until sugar is dissolved), then add the remaining ingredients.
Nothing like Olive Garden! Way too much oil, I had to use 7 tablespoons of vinegar and an extra tablespoon of mayo just to make it useable.
Brooke Wolff says
I feel like the fact that you have a solid grasp on the quality of Olive Garden dressing is the real issue here 🤣
This is such a nice dressing to bring my salad lunches to life. Thank you so much for another amazing recipe!
I'm so happy you like it!! Thanks for your review, Samantha! 😀
I think the only problem with this salad dressing will be trying not to drink it straight from the jar you have shaken it in. It is so tasty, so vibrant and delicious, hits all the tastebud notes. I don’t know how Natasha does it, but she seems to have a gift for knowing just what and how much of an ingredient to add to each and every recipe she develops.
Hahaha I love that!! I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! Really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to write me this review, Lorena! 🙂